A top leader of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), who was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department along with two other Lashkar operatives and an al-Qaida leader in July 2009, is helping the Pakistan terror group obtain biological weapons and anthrax through his al-Qaida connections, the Times of India reports.
The information was revealed in interrogations with Pakistani businessman and Guantanamo detainee, Saifullah Paracha, who said that the LeT was in contact with a U.S. based "al-Qaida anthrax operative" as part of its efforts to gain access to weapons of mass destruction.
LeT leaders Arif Qasmani, Mohammed Yahya Mujahid, and Nasir Javaid, and al-Qaida operative Fazeel-A-Tul Shaykh Abu Mohammed Ameen Al Peshawari, were designated by the U.S. Treasury for their active support for the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Lashkar in India.
Qasmani has been described in the Treasury press release as "the chief coordinator for Lashkar-e-Tayyiba's dealings with outside organizations" and is also alleged to provide financial support to al-Qaida operations. He has been directly tied to the July 2006 commuter train bombings in Mumbai and is reported to have received funds from Indian gangster Dawood Ibrahim who is believed to be hiding in Pakistan.
Paracha, a businessman based in the Pakistani city of Sargodha, told U.S. interrogators in 2008 that Qasmani was in communication with Nazmut Tariq, described as a U.S.-based al-Qaida pharmacist, to discuss ways to obtain biological weapons and anthrax for the LeT. Paracha also disclosed that he had known Tariq since 1969 and both men are from the same village, Nazimabad, in Pakistan. Tariq was also described as a member of the radical Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami party in Pakistan.
His current whereabouts are unclear, but his name was referenced in a document seized from an al-Qaida safe house in Pakistan alongside an entry for anthrax vaccine, the Times of India report said.